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5.0 out of 5 stars Minuet in Hell - Old Soldiers never die, they just fade away..., 15 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: Minuet in Hell (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
This is the ninteenth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Paul McGann as Eight and India Fisher as Charlie Pollard. There are four episodes, roughly 30-45 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some notes from the author.

This is an excellent story from Big Finish. The Doctor and Charlie are lost in Malebolgia, America's newest state set firmly in the deep south. Both are amnesiac, the Doctor finds himself in a dubious mental institution and Charlie finds herself in another type of institution altogether. And wandering around is an old and reassuringly friendly, dependable voice - a certain Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. There also appear to be Demons wandering the streets.

The story has a lot of fun with the Doctor's character here, without giving away any spoilers it is fun listening to him regain his conscious self, and get his memories back. The debates he has with another inmate, who truly believes himself to be the Doctor, are fascinating and beautifully performed. There is also plenty of action going on, with lots for the Brig, Charlie, and new friend Becky-Lee to be getting on with as they investigate the mysterious mental institution, the Hellfire club and the presence of what appear to be real Demons.

At 140 minutes it's a bit longer than the usual Big Finish production, but doesn't sag anywhere and delivers a really decent, involved tale which will keep you hooked.

I believe that this would be the last time Nicholas Courtney would reprise the role of the Brigadier in the company of a classic TV Doctor. He would return to the role in other BF ranges, the companion chronicles and notably alongside David Warner's alternative 3rd Doctor, and he appeared in Zagreus as the Tardis impersonating the Brig, but I don't think he appeared again as the Brig in the company of an actor playing 4,5,6,7 or 8. This tale forms a fitting ending to their partnership, and their final parting seems a fitting way for them to part, with a heartfelt few words from the Doctor. It is interesting to note how BF developed the character and his relationship with the Doctor in the space of just two stories (this and the Spectre of Lanyon Moor). In the TV series it was the Brig who needed the Doctor's help, but BF subtly changed that so that the Brig is the one who has the plan to save the day, or to rescue the Doc. It's a great characterisation, and superbly played out by Courtney.

5 stars all round, this is an excellent production, and worth getting just for Nicholas Courtney's solid, reassuring tones in one of his best performances as the Brigadier.
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Victor
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Location: Hull, England

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